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Power Player
11-28-2009, 08:51 AM
I notice that my whole life as a tennis player I have developed a habit of closing my racquet on forehands and opening it on slice backhands. It took me a long time to figure it out, but basically when I slice sometimes, right at contact I roll my wrist back and the racquet head opens up too much.

On forehands this results in closing the racquet face too much and sometimes framing the shot. I have always hit with a ton of spin and I wonder if this risky habit is what gives me so much spin.

The best way to describe it is that if you put your right hand in the thumbs up position, then rotated your wrist so the thumb faced horizontal towards your left. I am working on keeping my wrist bent longer and firm on contact so I do not this, and focus more on wiping the ball across. I do this motion also, so that is why the whole thing is kind of complicated. It is almost like I am playing ping pong with tennis equipment.

Is there any way to really focus on your wrist on contact to fix this? I am slowly fixing it on my slice backhand by trying to push the ball back a lot more with my shoulder instead of using my wrist but this is a tough habit to break. I also am not sure if some of this motion is actually good and helped me develop such heavy spin.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-28-2009, 09:15 AM
Hit through the slice like a flat ball (meaning only slightly high to low motion) and aim low over the net. Keep a firm wrist and aim to hit the outside of the ball.

For the forehand, if you use the wrist, you should roll the racket up the back of the ball. I personally come over the ball because I feel it offers me the best consistency on contact stability, which adds extra control to my shot when I aim for something big. But even so, my wrist action kind of leads with the edge of the frame and that's going up and forward. It shouldn't close more after contact. Try changing your wrist action to more of rolling over the ball.

W Cats
11-28-2009, 09:55 AM
What grips are you using. Where are your contact points in relation to your front feet. What swing paths before and after contact?

Power Player
11-28-2009, 11:57 AM
I use western and semi western. My swing path starts fairly high ( a little above shoulder width) and I make contact out in front. I would say it's about 3 inches in front of my left foot which is stepping into the shot. I finish with the racquet across my body and across my left bicep. When I roll my wrist, the racquet sometimes finishes further out and is closed. It feels like I am rolling over the ball for sure and I hit up on the shot too. This is pretty subtle stuff that I am working on to be honest.

Jagman
11-28-2009, 12:47 PM
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Jagman
11-28-2009, 12:50 PM
Power Player,

Have you ever done any arm wrestling? I'm not sure whether the current generation indulges in those pursuits anymore. Anyway, there's a well-known "secret" to success in that endeavor that also has application to the tennis milieu, I believe. At any rate, there was an article dealing with it on TennisOne.com a while back that I found helpful.

Of course, I'm talking about locking the wrist on groundstrokes --- and volleys, for that matter. The wrist naturally unlocks during the follow-through on groundstrokes, giving the sensation of rolling as the forearm pronates. The movement, other than locking the wrist, is entirely natural and not forced.

The locked wrist provides more stability and prevents undue movement of the racquet face during contact. It also provides greater leverage, if I remember the article correctly. The author (wish I could remember a name) used Don Budge's backhand as an example, which I found extremely useful in rejuvenating my OHBH.

Thus, my reference to arm wrestling, as familiarity with the sport would ensure that you know how a locked wrist is achieved. Those attempting the technique for the first time will often tense the entire arm, which is not required and will negatively impact the stroke. A locked wrist can be maintained with a relaxed arm, but it may take some practice.

Modern groundstrokes do appear to be quite wristy. My 15 year old son hits a viscious topspin forehand with a WW motion that seems to me to be very wristy. I have been meaning to speak with the pro about this as, in my training and experience, this would be viewed as detrimental. However, my background is a more traditional one and I'm not sure this is an aspect that would readily transfer over into the more modern game. The TennisOne.com article does render some support for the notion that a locked wrist remains pertinent. I'm certainly not going to tinker with my son's game on a whim; after all, if its not broken, don't fix it.

Since wristy motion appears to be an issue for you, I'll toss the subject out for consideration. I'll add that although I'm more of a traditional type player by dint of age and experience, I hit with a mixture of modern and classical strokes. I find the concept of a locked wrist to be helpful for me across the spectrum of playing styles.

Cheers!

LeeD
11-28-2009, 01:31 PM
You might try bigger grips to lock your wrist into place.
But the real problem is your tendency for pronation, the twisting of the arm inwards to close the face on forehands and open on backhands.
I'm average size, use 5/8 grips with one overgrip to lock my wrists.

papa
11-28-2009, 04:10 PM
You might try bigger grips to lock your wrist into place.
But the real problem is your tendency for pronation, the twisting of the arm inwards to close the face on forehands and open on backhands.
I'm average size, use 5/8 grips with one overgrip to lock my wrists.

Some still prefer the larger grips but there is a tendency today to go to the smaller grips like 1/4 and 3/8. I happen to like the smaller grips but whatever works is ok. The grips years ago were much larger but the that's not the case today.

Power Player
11-28-2009, 04:13 PM
But the real problem is your tendency for pronation, the twisting of the arm inwards to close the face on forehands and open on backhands.


Yes, I know this. Besides using larger grips (I would rather not do this) what else can I work on?

LeeD
11-29-2009, 08:15 AM
The reason grips were larger 30 years ago was that players wanted to LOCK OUT the wrist during the forward stroke. With conti and EFH grips, you got plenty of ball speed without needing to add any with WW or whatever finishes.
So why not adopt it for awhile, get rid of the wrist pronation, and go back to smaller grips?
OR... flatten your backswing, straight takeback, which doesn't use a wrist motion.

Bagumbawalla
11-29-2009, 12:44 PM
It is hard to answer your question with certainty because, we have little information to go on, the problem (if there is one) may be caused by several things- possibly at the same time, and sometimes, what we think we are experiencing (and describing, may not be what is actually happening, at all.

The "framing" part of the question could come from not watching the ball closely enough, hitting with too much low to high angle (so your margine for error is very small), poor timing/not setting up properly, hitting off your "heels"-- and might have nothing to do with your grip/wrist.

If, at the point of impact, your racket is excessively open or closed- then the ball will tend to dump into the net, or float high and long. If that is the case, then you have the problem you describe.

If, in general, you are able to hit the ball consistantly and keep it in play-- able to hit the ball solidly and keep it in the court, then what you feel is hapening may or may not be what is actually happening.

You say that it is a subtle thing- and that may be part of the problem (when we try to break up, analyze, or control our stroke in atomic increments).

Try to think of the stroke as one fluid motion from beginning to end. Any small deviation- attempt to corntol the racket or force/change its motion during the swing should be eliminated.

Whatever your grip, start by holding it so the racket head is perpendicular at the point of impact- then practice the swing- each time it should, at the impact point, it be (more or less) straight up and down. Rather than thinking of imparting spin by "brushing the ball" or rolling the racket around (over/under) the ball concentrate on visualizing the path of the racket THROUGH THE BALL in a fluid low to high motion. The low to high swing path (opposite for slice) will generate the spin. You did mention "rolling over the ball"-- it is ok to have some small wrist motion-- but not a rolling motion.

So, my crystal ball suggests you may be pulling up on the racket or trying to "control" or correct the stroke during the swing to generate spin in an improper way. Stop that, and concentrate on driving through the ball with one continuous, smooth motion. If you combine that with getting into position, and watching the ball, the little hitch you are feeling should go away.

fuzz nation
11-29-2009, 01:17 PM
I'm thinking that the problem with the slice shouldn't really happen as long as you make contact farther back beside you than you would with a topspin backhand. It's typically when contact is too far forward with a slice that the wrist can break and the racquet can slide more under the ball as the face opens up.

With your forehand, you may be able to delay that wrist rolling by using more upper body rotation through contact. Follow through more deliberately with the elbow on your hitting arm pointed in the general direction of your target at its finish. The wrist will probably still roll, but if you are driving your shoulder turn as you hit, your wrist will probably stay more quiet until your arm travels farther around you and starts to slow down.

Ripper014
11-29-2009, 02:00 PM
Yes, I know this. Besides using larger grips (I would rather not do this) what else can I work on?

Practice... hitting slow balls... you need to find someone willing to hit balls with you or practice against a wall... you don't need to hit balls hard when drilling on a wall. Just practice form... nice a easy... what you are trying to do is break a habit... you need to make it instinctive.

Once you have it figured out there... take it to the court.

W Cats
11-29-2009, 02:20 PM
I almost wonder if contact on the forehand side is a little too far in front. When you return serve (1st Serve) on the FH side do you have a tendency to frame it less when there is less time for preparation and a higher chance of hitting the ball a little late.

Power Player
11-29-2009, 08:14 PM
Actually I have been framing returns more often. That is the thing, suddenly my consistency is not there on the forehand. It feels great one stroke and bad the next. I play with some good players and they say my form is really good and that I just need to worry about my feet and setting up. A lot of that is actually true. When I play with big hitters, I hit a lot better then when I play with guys who are hitting slow. That is when I run into problems. It is maybe just something I need to work out.

Also..I described my wrist wrong..it is actually rolling the thumb down towards the ground when I hit it wrong. So it is like a thumbs up to thumbs down.

papa
11-30-2009, 04:19 AM
When I play with big hitters, I hit a lot better then when I play with guys who are hitting slow. That is when I run into problems. It is maybe just something I need to work out.


Common problem because the bounce is a lot more consistent and as a result, you might be taking your eyes off the ball/contact point. Slower balls have to be tracked right to the racquet. The other thing that you might want to check is to see if your non-hitting hand is leaving the racquet side too early and is on your left side as the ball bounces. Two tiny little things that may make a difference.

LeeD
11-30-2009, 06:36 AM
Thumb up to thumb down, on forehands, is service pronation or WW during the stroke.
Don't pronate during the stroke, pronate AFTER for the finish. A little pronation just as you strike the ball is OK, but WW is for after you strike the ball.
Still gotta lock your wrists.
On backhand, pronation would be thumbs UP. Don't do that either, or some injury will result, besides hitting topspin backhands straight into the ground.
I guess you need a longer strike zone.
Maybe keep elbow IN on the backswing, or closer to your body.

Power Player
11-30-2009, 06:01 PM
I went out and played a guy who is a lefty 3.0. It was good because I just hit at 1/2 speed and really worked on consistency and form. The winners I would hit were 3/4 speed and I was just working on hitting clean and making sure weight transfer and everything was good.

I kept the wrist firm and just finished like I normally, which is across my body. The wrist got a little flimsy on a few shots, but for the most part I was consistent and handed out a bagel to him.

Wes_Loves_Dunlop
11-30-2009, 06:04 PM
A good thing to do is when learning to keep your wrist form throughout contact, is to imagine there is another ball coming in after it.
Not sure if you can imagine it, but let your arm extend all the way out when you hit a forehand.

5263
12-02-2009, 06:15 AM
I notice that my whole life as a tennis player I have developed a habit of closing my racquet on forehands and opening it on slice backhands. It took me a long time to figure it out, but basically when I slice sometimes, right at contact I roll my wrist back and the racquet head opens up too much.

On forehands this results in closing the racquet face too much and sometimes framing the shot. I have always hit with a ton of spin and I wonder if this risky habit is what gives me so much spin.

The best way to describe it is that if you put your right hand in the thumbs up position, then rotated your wrist so the thumb faced horizontal towards your left. I am working on keeping my wrist bent longer and firm on contact so I do not this, and focus more on wiping the ball across. I do this motion also, so that is why the whole thing is kind of complicated. It is almost like I am playing ping pong with tennis equipment.

Is there any way to really focus on your wrist on contact to fix this? I am slowly fixing it on my slice backhand by trying to push the ball back a lot more with my shoulder instead of using my wrist but this is a tough habit to break. I also am not sure if some of this motion is actually good and helped me develop such heavy spin.

This may be a circumstance where the idea of "waiting" comes into play. I know you hit "Modern style" from other posts. Sometimes we get too antsy to go after the ball and take it just a moment too early. Try "waiting" just an instant and let the ball sink in just a bit more and see if that doesn't allow you to make contact prior to the wrist starting to get too active.

papa
12-02-2009, 03:47 PM
Not sure if you can imagine it, but let your arm extend all the way out when you hit a forehand.

Well, unless he means something else, I don't care much for this advice. There certainly are times when this happens but not as general advice for most shots. This concept of hitting through three or four balls was once popular but not now.